Becoming an Association model Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)
Salisbury EcoHub Alliance is currently applying to be registered by the Charity Commission as an Association model Charitable Incorporated Organisation. We expect to receive a decision on our application by the end of February 2023.
Once we are a registered charity, it means that when we get hold of a shop or other premises, we will be exempt from having to pay business rates. It also means that we will be able to apply for grants from the National Lottery and other grant-giving bodies. Both these things are essential for the project to be financially sustainable.
What is means for us organisationally is that instead of being a loose "Unincorporated Association" of individuals, brought together by a common purpose but without any formal structure, we will be an organisation with a defined Constitution and rules (33 pages of it) and a defined membership with overall democratic control.
The "Association model" means that the membership, as well as individual people, can also include groups and organisations, whether these are themselves unincorporated associations or any kind of formal organisation including not-for-profit companies, charities, NGOs and businesses. All such members will have one vote each in electing and holding the EcoHub management (the Trustees) to account.
Being "Incorporated" means that, like a limited company, the EcoHub will be a legal "person" in its own right, so that the members and the Trustees (like the shareholders and directors of a company) will not have personal liability - for example for the organisation's debts if it were to go bankrupt - unless they have behaved fraudulently or with illegal recklessness. (Members of an unincorporated association do not have this protection.)
Once we are duly registered, this is what our structure will look like:
The membership will decide policy and elect the Board of Trustees at General Meetings, and may also decide to remove any Trustee if the need arises.
The Board of Trustees will be responsible for the day to day running of the organisation, including its finances and the recruitment, appointment and management of volunteers and any future paid staff. The Trustees cannot themselves be paid staff or benefit financially from their roles in the Charity. The Board of Trustees will have to submit an Annual Report & Accounts to a General Meeting and to the Charity Commission for approval.
Current Steering Group
The current (unelected) Salisbury EcoHub Alliance Steering Group has six members, who emerged during 2022 by turning up for meetings and doing the work to carry the project forward, and four of whom have put themselves forward as founding Trustees of the new charity. The present Steering Group are Brig Oubridge, Richard Sharp, Evelyn Goulden and Caroline Lanyon (applicant trustees), and Suzanne Ruggi and Linda Oubridge (additional steering group members).
Brig Oubridge has been an environmental activist and campaigner for over 40 years. He is a former national co-chair of the UK Green Party, and from 1994 to 2010 he was chair of the Big Green Gathering Co. Ltd., a not-for-profit company which organised an annual renewably-powered festival (The Big Green Gathering) promoting environmental awareness and sustainable living.
Dr Richard Sharp PhD
Dr. Richard Sharp PhD is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, formerly employed at the government research establishment at Porton Down and was a visiting professor at Liverpool University for 25 years. Since retiring he has been an active campaigner on climate change issues and a prime mover of the acclaimed Salisbury-based Climate Circus travelling exhibition.
Evelyn Goulden worked in the MOD for 36 years and has managed staff and enabled change and relocation. Her concerns about the environment over 30 years led her to join Salisbury Transition City, of which she is now a director and co-chair. She is also a director of Share Salisbury. Both of these are not-for-profit Community Interest Companies, and both positions are unpaid.
Caroline Lanyon is an unpaid director of Salisbury Community Energy Ltd., a not-for-profit Community Benefit Society, which has facilitated the installation of five major renewable energy projects in the Salisbury area since 2017, including photo-voltaic solar panels on Salisbury Cathedral cloisters, Wiltshire College and two local schools.
Linda Oubridge BA (Hons)
Linda Oubridge BA (Hons) has been an environmental campaigner, feminist and peace activist for over 40 years. In 2006 her exemplary green lifestyle was featured on BBC2's Newsnight.
Suzanne Ruggi is an environmental campaigner and a professional journalist specialising in Middle East issues.
Once the organisation is formally incorporated, the new Board of Trustees will be elected by the membership and may comprise up to a maximum of seven trustees, who will be accountable to the membership through General Meetings. The four founding Trustees will have to stand down at the first General Meeting and stand for election along with any others who may be nominated at that meeting.
To vote at that meeting, you need to be a signed-up member. If you have not already done so, please JOIN US by completing the form on our home page. There is no charge!